RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Japan

Dementia sufferers catch Japanese banks off guard

Japanese residents with dementia will hold $2t in financial assets by 2030.

Reuters reports that rapidly-ageing Japan is producing a new wave of customers to service in the form of dementia sufferers who are expected to increase by up to 8 million by 2030. 

Japan’s massive silver wave poses a problem and opportunity for banks to enhance their customer service game as they encounter clients who cannot use an ATM, cannot remember what to use their withdrawals for and repeatedly ask the same questions.

The volume of financial assets held by Japanese residents with dementia will rise to $2t (JPY215t) by 2030 from the current $1,26t (JPY143t), according to estimates by Dai-ichi Life Research. A survey by Narumoto also found that about a third of dementia patients and families have experienced financial losses because of their condition.

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A number of the country’s banks including Nomura and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank have thus started educating their staff about how to handle interactions with the elderly demographic whilst the Shinkin Seinenkouken Support was set up in Tokyo to offer low-cost financial guardian to help clients manage their finances.

In Hong Kong, HSBC has taken the initiative to install around 45 dementia specialists to offer practical advice to senior citizens performing retail transactions following the results of a survey that revealed that over 80% of those with dementia require banking assistance from their family or carers.

Also read: Mizuho targets Japan's wealthy elderly to boost slow loan growth

However, the guardian system has been shown to be prone to abuse with nearly $185.11m (JPY21b) stolen by guardians from 2010-2015, highlighting the need for tighter oversight and the gap in the market to service Japan’s elderly.

Here’s more from Reuters:

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